THe Outside, In
HHuman beings now spend some 90 percent of time indoors, and the resulting homeowner demands are driving integrators the world over to raise their residential lighting game. If you or your client can dream it, the ever-evolving technology and know-how likely exists to do it. Whether the job involves blending responsive systems that jibe with natural light patterns or tapping into multi-dimensional light sources tailored to our increasingly indoor lifestyles, the challenge is clear for home technology and design-build professionals: Deliver human-centric lighting solutions.
Designers, architects, and integrators are now concentrating on more than just simple illumination. Factors ranging from health and wellness considerations to maintaining a consistent design aesthetic create unique system demands, and with them, open up a world of opportunities.
Well-thought-out design, light sources, and control system choices can re-establish our connection to the outside world and more, argues London-based Lutron Customer Education Leader Sam Woodward. “If you can take a space and dynamically light it, then you’re going to be simulating natural light,” Woodward said during a CEDIA Talk presentation at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) earlier this year. “You’re going to be taking the humans that are in that space back to that connection with the varying of light throughout the day, and that has a profound series of effects on people if we can re-establish that connection with the outside world.”
Woodward also served as a subject matter expert in a recently released CEDIA white paper titled “Quality of Light in the Home,” which takes a deep dive into the benefits of well-crafted indoor lighting and the pitfalls of doing it wrong. Color temperature and tone, potential physiological effects, room usage, quality and glare are part of a myriad of considerations that the white paper and Woodward say professionals can ponder throughout planning and execution of indoor lighting projects.
Woodward suggests asking:
• Can I make this room more flexible/comfortable with controllable dynamic light?
• What is the best user interface for the light in the room?
• Is there a possibility to let the outside world in? If so, don’t forget to integrate your lighting controls and shading together.
Lighting In Action
For a high-profile example of how human-centric lighting can be used to accomplish traditional objectives like architectural highlighting and a particularly challenging task of helping a family from the U.S. conquer jet lag at their overseas vacation home, The Pyramid Group in the U.K. employed a complex strategy for a new property in Scotland’s iconic St. Andrews. The centerpiece of the Ladies Lake project is a hands-free circadian lighting system designed to keep the family’s internal clocks in check by mimicking natural sunlight during Scotland’s trademark overcast days. Using all LEDs, Pyramid integrated custom Control4 drivers, DMX and DALI luminaries, and additional hardware to expertly sync the indoor lighting and regulate the cutting-edge architecture lighting throughout the entire property in an energy-efficient manner. The effort landed Pyramid a 2017 CEDIA Award for Best Lighting, Control & Installation in the EMEA region.
Businesses have pondered and implemented lighting strategies to boost worker wellness and productivity, but systems and technology in the home are increasingly being adopted, as the delivery and control methods become more available and attainable for homeowners of various budgets. “Now, we can think of light in two dimensions, rather than just one,” Woodward said. “We used to think about light purely in that dimension of how bright it is, but now, we can think about light in terms of that dimension of color temperature as well.”
For professionals in the CEDIA channel and the design-build community, lighting delivery and control options are more wide open than ever before. Along with this great renaissance comes great responsibility for integrators. Properly deployed and controlled lighting can yield an extraordinary experience that was previously unimaginable. With highly intentional planning and by using an ever-growing array of multi-dimensional gear and techniques, home technology professionals can help guide clients toward an indoor world that is more in tune with the outdoors.
We spend more time indoors than ever, so why not create an environment that looks great and takes our well-being into account?